Rebecca J. Cole: Breaking Racial And Gender Barrier

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Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, “In our society, the women who break down barriers are the ones that ignore limits.” Rebecca J. Cole was an ideal embodiment of this quote because of the obstacles she had to overcome to become the second African American female physician in the United States. Rebecca J. Cole was influenced and shaped by her determination to break racial and gender barrier during a time notorious for the concept of separate but equal in the case of minorities. Rebecca J. Cole was born on March 16, 1846 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as the second of five children. She is of African and European ancestry. Cole attended the prestigious Institute for Colored Youth, a rigorous school with the curriculum of Latin, mathematics, and Greek, where she excelled. She graduated in 1863 and even received a ten-dollar sum for her academic excellence and punctuality. Later, Cole attended Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, the world’s first female medical school, and graduated in 1867 which made her…show more content…
She studied under Ann Preston, the first female dean of Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, during Cole’s time there. The primary issue that several people had with her work was her duty as a sanitary visitor. Some did not see the purpose of having a sanitary visitor since he/she would not be providing the poor with the tools they need instead just informing them on how to stay sanitary. Cole faced many challenges and barriers during her career as a physician. In the 1860s, the United States was just adjusting to the end of the Civil War and African Americans were free but not treated equally. In addition, women were second-class citizens. Therefore, Cole had to ignore and persist through set stereotypes and boundaries to achieve her goal. Cole continued to practice medicine for fifty years until her death on August 14, 1922. She is buried at Eden’s Cemetery in Collingdale,
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